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Kent Cricket suffer defeat against Warwickshire Bears in semi-final of Royal London One-Day Cup at Edgbaston to miss out on Lord's Final

By Alex Hoad

After a fairytale run to the semi-finals, Kent suffered a six-wicket humbling in the last-four of the Royal London One-Day Cup against Warwickshire at Edgbaston on Thursday night.

Despite winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Kent wilted on the big stage and set a well below par total of 215-8 from their 50 overs, a total which the Bears cruised to with overs to spare.

Skipper Rob Key (23) was first to go, skying a delivery from big Boyd Rankin - who was to cause the Spitfires all kinds of trouble – with Jeetan Patel taking the catch to leave Kent 43-1 after 11 overs.

Sam Northeast made a steady 31 but dollied a Rankin ball straight back to the bowler as Kent slipped to 62-2 and Ben Harmison followed him back to the pavilion after a less-than-fluid 21 to start the 23rd over, leaving the Spitfires pm 84-3.

The recalled Brendan Nash and Fabian Cowdrey set about steadying the ship but with Kent having sought a total approaching 300, and well below the run-rate, they bowed to pressure with Nash needlessly running himself out seeking a second that wasn’t there, falling for 21 from 26 balls to leave the visitors on 111-4 after 26 overs.

Sam Billings. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Sam Billings. Picture: Barry Goodwin

A weight of responsibility fell onto Darren Stevens, so often Kent’s hero, however he departed for just three, superbly caught at deep mid-wicket by a diving Laurie Evans off Patel (2-38).

Cowdrey (34) and Alex Blake steered Kent past 150 before Blake was the sixth man to go, caught by Evans off Oliver Hannon-Dalby (2-51).

Cowdrey followed in Hannon-Dalby’s next over, caught by Porterfield after a sloppy shot, and it was soon 161-8 when Mitch Claydon (1) was caught behind off Rankin, who finished with 3-34 from 10 overs.

The sole positive for Kent came in the form of a late cameo from in-form Sam Billings, whose late flurry of four fours and a six steered Kent passed 200.

His run-a-ball 40 not out put on a record unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 54 with David Griffiths (12 not out).

Warwickshire looked heavy favourites from the off even when Claydon had Porterfield (10) caught by Northeast with the score on 18.

Skipper Varun Chopra and England man Jonathan Trott then put on 110 for the second wicket to put the Bears firmly in the driving seat, though Griffiths got Trott (58 from 68 balls) to offer up a chance to Nash who made no mistake.

In the next over Adam Riley trapped Chopra for a patient 50 to give the visitors a sliver of hope at 132-3 with 20 overs remaining, however Tim Ambrose and Evans calmed the nerves with a patient 57-run partnership before Evans played-on off Griffiths (2-29) for 24, just 17 short of their target.

Ambrose (51 not out) and Rikki Clarke (eight not out) then steered the hosts over the line with six wickets and 21 balls to spare.

The Bears now await the winners of Saturday's semi-final between Notts and Durham in the Lord's Final on September 20.

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